It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seattle Diving

Rob and I were in Seattle for Thanksgiving, visiting our respective brothers. We weren't totally attached to the idea of diving, since schlepping gear is a bit of a pain for not a lot of diving. So we agreed that if we could bring minimal gear (think drysuits, undergarments, masks, gloves, hoods) and borrow everything else, then we'd do it. Rob contacted Lynne and a few others to see what they could do for us. Lynne was conveniently (but sadly) going to be away for the weekend, so we basically just borrowed all of her gear. So we went over to Lynne and Peter's on Friday and had a chat, played with their kitties, and got some gear. I think they actually had enough stuff that even if Lynne were diving, we would have been fine. We each brought backplates, though in the end I just used Lynne's, since it already had the cam bands in it for a single tank. (Note to self: next time, don't bother bringing a backplate.) We were given an array of tanks to choose from, and I took two single 95s, thinking that way I would have a lot of gas, since Rob took a set of doubles. So if he wanted to do one longer dive and one shorter dive, we would have that flexibility. I never even considered that they might not overfill their LP tanks. But they don't! I guess since the only place I ever get tanks filled is Anywater (and Extreme Exposure, when in Rome), I totally take that for granted!

Saturday morning, we met up with Nils, Scott, Peter (who was a "maybe" but did show up) and Laurynn, who I had never met before, to dive Cove 2. There have been a bunch of GPOs there recently, so that's what we were hoping to see. They had some ideas of where we might find them. We got geared up and were all sitting on the little ledge by the steps, where we did our gear checks. During the checks, my backup second stage started hissing. A lot. Too much to just ignore. Peter tried futzing with it a little, but it would not stop. Scott said he had another second stage in the car, and voila, he provided me with a second stage that even already had a bungee necklace! And it was even a better bungee necklace than Lynne's (sorry Lynne). After that was all taken care of, we got in the water. The tide was super high, which is a good thing at Cove 2. We were in two teams, mine consisted of Peter, Rob, and me. Peter was leading our team, though the other team was ahead of us. So we mostly followed them. We dropped down at one of the buoys and followed a big line down the slope. We eventually saw two GPOs. The second was (by my standards) HUGE, though apparently there are even huger ones up there. They were both under things, not out in the open. But still some pretty good octopus sitings.

We followed the slope down a bit deeper than I expected, and for a bit longer than I expected too. Oh well. In addition to the GPOs, we saw a few things that I was pretty excited about. First, there was a sailfin sculpin (whose sail was unfortunately not up) on the way down the slope. Right at the bottom, where we turned around, in the end of a pipe, was a red brotula, which I don't think I've ever seen before (so it was totally worth violating the MOD of my gas by 3 feet). Right near there was a warbonnet. Then on the way up the slope, there was a Tritonia diomedea, which I have never seen before and was super excited about. Then I saw this super cute fish; I had no idea what it was, but knew it was cute enough to point out to Rob, who then showed it to Laurynn. She coerced us (I swear) into petting it. It was a buffalo sculpin, another new fish for me. Then Rob found a grunt sculpin (sooo cute). So not bad for the Seattle version of the breakwater. Oh, and lots of orange metridium, which amuse me, even though they are like nothing special to Seattle peeps. On the way up we did some sort of loop so that at any point I was really quite clueless as to how far we were from shore. So I kept having to tell Peter how much gas I had, since I didn't know when to call it. I am sure he felt like he was taking one of his OW students on a tour :)

Our dive ended up being about 50 minutes. I think on the last trip, our dives were about that length, and I was ice cold by the end. Just before this trip, when I was sort of dreading the cold, I realized that on the last trip, I had my old 250gm Thinsulate undergarment. Now I have a 400gm. Ahh, what a difference that made! Of course, once we were out of the water, it was insanely cold, so that was pretty uncomfortable (especially with wet hair). But Peter totally came prepared, with his little insta-matic hot water heater (we totally need one of those for the van). We finished up with lunch at the restaurant right there by the parking lot. Man, that place is like the anti-Breakwater deli. They are so friendly to divers.

We had a second dive planned at Mukilteo pier that night. Apparently this site has a zillion ratfish, and Rob had asked Nils to take us somewhere that has ratfish. Since I guess there is no access right at the pier, you have to go in from one beach down. So Lynne and Peter loaned us scoots for the dive (which we were doing with just Nils). We got there and Rob found that the screw that locks the trigger on Peter's scooter was stuck, and was not coming un-stuck with his hands. There was another team of divers just coming out and Rob borrowed some vise grips from them, and soon fixed the problem. Then as I was getting my hood and gloves together, I realized I lacked fins. Sigh. I had left Lynne's fins (with my mask tucked in a fin pocket) at Cove 2. Somehow I managed to go from 2 sets of fins (Laurynn has also brought me a pair of fins, which I returned to her before leaving Cove 2) to 0 sets of fins in the space of a few hours. Rob told me I could never again make fun of John H. for forgetting his fins. After briefly considering doing the dive without fins, I decided to drive back to Cove 2 to look for them while the boys went diving. Cove 2 is just a few miles from my brother's house, so I suggested to Rob that we just go by there tomorrow. He had this really nervous look on his face and started to say something and then stopped. I had a feeling that Rob was really concerned about my mask, because he has this idea that it is the only mask in the world that fits my face.

Anyhoo, I went to Cove 2, which was traumatic in and of itself, since it was dark and raining, and a strange city with way too many exit only lanes, and I am, shall we say, a "weak" driver even in the best conditions. I made it there without crashing into the median on the West Seattle Bridge, and had a look on the bench where I knew I had left it. Then I headed into the un-Breakwater-deli, and asked if there was a lost and found. After being quizzed briefly on what these missing fins looked like, they returned them to me (with my mask in one of the pockets, phew). How un-Breakwater-deli of them. Yay! I returned to Mukilteo, where Nils and Rob were chit-chatting, having come out of the water not too long ago. They reported something on the order of 200 ratfish, which according to Nils is not as dense as it often is. Wow. On the way back to Jeff's, I confronted Rob about his weird fear of me losing my mask, and he admitted that he was afraid if I lost my mask, I would give up diving. I assured him that that was not true.

Thanks to Lynne and Peter for all of the loaner gear!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Kitties

I've decided that Seattle is a pretty good place to vacation, because there are lots of vacation kitties to play with. Jeff and Sarah have two kitties, plus Lynne and Peter have their two. So I always get a decent dose of kitty time when I am there. I had never met Jeff's cats before, and to be honest, none of the pictures that I had seen made them look exceptionally cute. But in real life they totally are. Cali is a calico cat, who looks like a bucket of paint was splashed on her. She has dense, short fur, and is really lightweight and small. She is even lighter weight than she looks. I guess it's because Pepper is such a lean, mean, foot-biting machine, when I pickup a small cat, I expect it to be heavier per unit volume. Cali took a little while to warm up to us, but she eventually was quite friendly. That cat is the most vocal cat I have ever met (though Jeff claims Pepper is more vocal). And she makes the weirdest noises. It's like she is talking to you in a growly voice.

Her (adopted) brother is George, who I would call a "ginger cat". But only because that is how Crookshanks was described in Harry Potter :) He is like a little lion. He has sort of tufted fur and a fluffy tail, both of which I love. But the really intriguing thing about George is his multitude of toes. That's right, he's a polydactyl cat. He has two extra toes on each front paw, and one extra toe on each back paw. On his front paws, he basically has two extra thumbs, which are at an opposing angle to his paws. So he kind of walks with his feet turned out. Wikipedia has a very informative article on polydactyl cats. According to it, cats with this form of polydactyly often have improved dexterity. He also has the problem they mention with the claws overgrowing and poking his skin. Apparently his vet recommended de-clawing those extra claws; I told Jeff that George is a work of art and he should find a new vet :) Unfortunately George is pretty shy, so he hid under the futon during the day for most of our trip. But once the lights were out, he would come out and be friendly -- a lot like Oreo used to be, before she became a social butterfly. I even caught him chewing on my hair a la Pepper in the middle of the night one night!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting the Band Back Together

We were back on the Escapade, for a BAUE tech boat. Team Kitty (classic) was diving together; it seems like it has been ages since we've all dived together. A quick review of the blog suggests that the last dive we did together locally was in July! How terrible. But there have been two cave trips since then, so I guess not that terrible. Anyhoo, the forecast for Saturday was looking pretty good, but the wind was supposed to get worse throughout the day, and then Sunday had a pretty horrible wind forecast. But we managed to sneak down to Yankee Point before it got too bad. Rob wanted to go to the south wall, so we hatched a plan to drop just north of the wall, and then have all of the teams (since we were all on scooters) meet back at K2 and pop bags there. We hopped into the water (as much as you can "hop" with a gazillion pounds of gear on) and scooted to the downline. There was some wicked current. I had to stay on the trigger pretty much continuously to stay with the line. I was waiting and waiting and eventually Kevin appeared. He headed down to 20 feet, so I followed him. And we waited and waited and eventually came up to look for Rob. Eventually he appeared (he fell behind while clipping his camera off and his ghetto scooter took a while to get him to the line). So finally we headed down the line.

There was wicked current pretty much top to bottom. Once on the bottom, we were greeted by dark, green water, with rather shitty viz. Ahh, this is why we dive. I really had no freakin' clue where we were -- that's the beauty of dark green silty water. But rumor had it we were north of the wall, a little to the east of the channel that leads to K2. So Rob headed southwest. The current was dragging us away from the wall. Well, at least we wouldn't have to worry about fighting the current on the way back. We had tentative plans to head across the sand to the little parallel wall that I call the "south south wall". When we plan to do that, I always preface that with "if the viz looks good". When we finally made it to the wall (I guess... I really couldn't see much down or up it, but the depth suggests we were at the wall), and Rob asked and I was like "no freakin' way". I don't have much to report about this dive, since mostly I just saw green, dark, siltiness. It was insanely bad at 200' plus there was all that current. We eventually came up the wall, or somehow were magically transported to shallower structure -- hey, I just follow Rob. At 150', the water actually seemed a bit clearer. It was definitely a lot less dark.

Other than dark green siltiness, there were some hordes of baby rockfish. We also had a close encounter with a mola. We were on the trigger and Kevin signaled Rob I think he was worried that Rob was about to run straight into the mola. So we all stopped and had a mola fly-by. It was nice. I was thinking as we were scootering to the north, on our way to K2 (more on that in a moment), that in the greenness, the bright pink structures seemed even brighter than usual, maybe just because they seemed to suddenly appear under my light from the murk. However, I think Corynactis looks nicer on a backdrop of blue water (much like my drysuit). So eventually it was time to find our way back to K2. Because of the viz, we didn't successfully find the channel that we usually take up to K2. But we were heading in that general direction. Eventually we realized that we were a bit too far west; or I should say we guessed we were a bit too far west. It was the most plausible direction, based on the depth of the wall when we were on the wall, plus how long we spent getting to the wall. So we headed to the east, and saw some structure that had some tell-tale signs of looking like K2. It had all that mowed down palm kelp that you see on certain sides of the pinnacle. But now we had overshot to the north. So we headed south and eventually found the 70' high spot on the pinnacle. I was pretty impressed that we made it. I checked the crack formerly known as the GPO's home, and saw a huge urchin, but no octopus. I didn't see either of the other teams, though in this viz, I'm not sure I would have seen them. We had an uneventful, though pretty cold ascent.

We unfortunately surfaced just after another team did, so we had to wait for them to be retrieved. While we were bobbing on the surface, it was a little rough. Finally the boat came over to us, and getting back on the boat was a bit of a pain with all that current. I was freezing after the dive. I don't know if it is actually related, but I have a usual eating routine before a dive (based on my theory that protein == warmth), which I did not stick to. There is also a high likelihood that my pink drysuit is a bit leaky (I have since left it at the drysuit hospital for a leak test). We headed bayward and once we were there, we paused to discuss options for a second dive. I guess someone suggested Ballbuster, so that is where we went. As a result of my extreme coldness, and the fact that I think Ballbuster is a very scary dive, I decided to stay on the boat and have some hot chocolate instead. Kevin and Nick kept me company, and Rob joined Clinton and John. Eventually some bags came up, one not too far from the line and the other not at all close to the line. It turns out the anchor slipped (or something), and one team (Pavel and Masao) guessed the right direction to go, while Rob's team guessed the wrong direction and basically swam to deep Aumentos. No one had any pictures from the trip :(

We had lunch at Turtle Bay and then we headed over to Beto and Sue's afterward. The night before, a neighborhood (stray?) cat had followed Susan home, and come inside to play. So Susan and I took Naia for a walk to see if we could find him (or her) again. We found her (as far as I could tell, it was a girl) in the park, and she was super friendly, and we quickly made friends. She was grey with slightly long (super soft) fur, and a big fluffy tail. Since I am a crazy cat lady (CCL for short), I have a sort of cat bucket list. It's a list of all of the cats I want to have at some point. Two of the entries on the list are "grey cat" and "cat with bushy tail". So I was definitely into this cat. She followed us home and came inside and charmed Susan into giving her some tuna. What a lucky kitty. She also entertained us while Rob and Beto were knotting line -- every cat's favorite activity! Beto nicknamed her "Panther".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Surprise Trip South

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Rob had friend in town -- Peter, from Belgium, who Rob met at his GUE ITC. He was looking to dive, so Rob setup some diving for the weekend. For Saturday, he put together a tech boat. It was originally a T2 boat, but after studying the forecast during the week, we decided to bring 18/45, in case we ended up in the bay. So that way some others could join the trip too. In the end, we had 3 teams. I decided that I just wanted to dive on Saturday, so Rob and I drove down separately. The upside of this is that I got to sleep in an extra half hour; Rob wanted to meet Peter early since he was loaning a bunch of gear to him. The forecast wasn't looking so good, so we really weren't expecting much. We were just hoping to make it to Carmel. When we got out there, the conditions were not too bad. There was big swell, but it was a big, long rolling swell without much wind, which I don't really mind. We got surprisingly not too trashed on the way around the point to Carmel. We knew that the wind was supposed to pickup later in the day though. But I guess Jim was feeling bold (or trying to teach us a lesson, maybe) and said we could try to make a run south of Lobos and see what it was like down there. Woohoo. We made it all the way down to Yankee Point, to Mount Chamberlin. Enter the wind. As we were getting geared up, it became obvious that conditions were not quite as favorable down here as they had been on the ride down. There were some gearing-up shenanigans that delayed us a bit -- Rob and Peter didn't do a very good job of assessing whether Peter would fit into Rob's plate before loading gear on the boat (amateur, right?). Once that was all resolved, we finally got into the water. One of the other teams had already jumped and was waiting for us at the ball.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Once I was in the water, I realized the swell was quite big. As I scootered to the ball, it kept disappearing (or I kept disappearing, maybe) in the trough of a wave. But I finally made it there, only to find that Rob and Peter had fallen behind. I guess the boat swung around on another pass to drop Matt and Clinton into the water, and it seemed like there were divers scattered everywhere. Eventually they all appeared at the ball, but while I was hanging out at the ball, thinking about how ridiculous it was trying to muster 8 divers at the ball in these conditions, I wondered if it was a good decision to get into the water. On the other hand, the pickup is always less chaotic because we do it one team at a time. We headed down the line into somewhat murky conditions. It was also incredibly surgy. By the time we hit the pinnacle, we were at maybe 100 feet, and the surge was wild. As we got a bit deeper, it relented a little, but it was still surgy basically all the way down to 200 feet. It was also quite dark, and I would call the viz 30 to 40 feet (though Rob seemed to think it wasn't quite this good). But there was a lot of particulate in the water.

We had planned to head to the north side of the pinnacle, and hop over to some of the structures just north of K2 for a deep segment and then come back to K2 and multi-level it from there. Scootering in big surge is always amusing, since for a moment you are barely moving (if at all) and then suddenly you are flying forward. Rob led us to the north side and across the sand channel to a little pinnacle which I think we have been too before (I think we saw a lot of canary rockfish there once, and a couple of basket stars on another dive). Rob doesn't know, since he is mostly stateless as it pertains to landmarks on dives. Usually we go to the top of it, but today (I'm guessing due to the surge), we stayed kind of low and scootered around the south side. We eventually came to a little channel between this rock and another, and Rob and Peter headed through it. I scootered towards the channel and there was ridiculous surge coming through it, against me. It was the kind of water movement where if you try to scooter through it, it feels like your mask is going to implode on your face. I backed off to the side and waited for the surge to change directions. Once it did, I scootered into the crack and literally got spit out the other side, where Rob and Peter were waiting. Phew. Not long after that, as we curved around to the north side of that pinnacle, we found a couple of basket stars. The first one was all curled up with just one tendril extended. There were also gobs of fishies on this pinnacle. If you looked up, the water was filled with the silhouettes of small rockfish.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
We eventually headed back to K2 working our way shallower up the east side. We stopped to look at a few fish along the wall, including a juvenile yelloweye (those guys have been everywhere this year), a mystery juvenile rockfish (I think) that was yellowish with some fluorescent orange-pink on its head, China rockfish, and kelp greenlings. Plus there were the usual schooling blue rockfish. Peter was pretty impressed with the fish life on the dive, which was evident from the squealing coming from his regulator :) We also saw some Dotos and a lot of Flabellina trilineata along the side of the wall. We eventually passed the high spot on K2 and ended up in a little canyon where we went on my first BAUE tech boat, but we seem to never go anymore. It has lush gorgonians and elephant ear sponges along the sides. After poking around in there for a couple minutes, we headed back to the high spot. We were killing the last few minutes of our bottom time, at maybe 120 feet on the east side of that high spot, when I found the mystery "zebra snail" which I have seen exactly once before, on our first dive at Dos Gatos. Needless to say, I was delighted to see it again, and even more delighted to show it to Rob, so someone else could vouch for its existence :) I should really try to figure out what it is. (Unfortunately, Clinton was nowhere to be found -- he was shooting macro). I also looked into the GPO crack, but alas there was no GPO. Just some rockfish and a huge urchin. When it was time to start the deco, Rob put up a bag and off we went. We could see both of the other teams all leaving the peak at the agreed-upon time.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
On deco, we had the usual assortment of jellies drifting by, including some nettles, but nothing too exciting. It was noticeably lacking the warm water that we had on deco recently. Getting my fins off on the current line was a difficult task since my fingers were basically numb by the end of the dive :) For some reason, climbing the ladder to get back on the boat seemed unusually hard. Perhaps Kevin is right -- everything gets harder once you turn 30 :P The conditions had actually not deteriorated as much as I expected, phew. We were talking about doing a second dive, but decided to head back to Monterey Bay, since we wanted to do the travel before the wind got worse. On the way from Cypress Point to Pinos, it actually seemed like the swell was smaller than it had been on the way down, but maybe it was a bit more windy. It wasn't a bad ride at all though. We made a brief stop a bit north of Pinos to play with a gaggle of dolphins -- there were Risso's and Northern right whale dolphins, at least. I guess Jim saw a Dahl's porpoise, but I don't think anyone else did. The Risso's seemed awfully frisky, with a bunch of them jumping completely out of the water. After we were finished with that, we headed into the bay, and started talking dive sites. Clinton was interested in diving the deep shale, so we went to check it out. The water on the surface was quite brown. Jim was getting reports that the sites in the bay (Aumentos or Eric's, not sure which) were reporting like 5 to 10 foot viz. We expected the viz to be worse on the shale, so we decided to punt (yea, we're soft) and go get some lunch instead. Laura at AWS told me the breakwater had like 2 foot viz, so I can't imagine the shale was much better.

Rob was nominally shooting wide-angle, but I don't think he ever even took his camera out. I guess it was the combination of darkness, surge, and the fact that the dive was more like a tour around the pinnacle. But Clinton got some nice macro pics, which I am including in the post. Thanks for the pics Clinton. And of course, thanks to the crew of the Escapade for letting us show Peter a pretty nice first dive in California.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wreck Diving Road Trip

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Rob, Clinton, and I went down to LA for the weekend to do a little wreck diving (and family visitation). Nick and Jamie setup a boat for us to do some light tech diving off of, and Justin (visiting from Colorado) joined their team. The plan was to do the first dive on the Retriever (in about 130 feet), the second on the Palawan (in about 120 feet), and a third dive on the Star of Scotland (in about 80 feet). This involved a ton of gear, with some people bringing two sets of doubles and some of us just brought a lot of stages. We were on the Island Diver, and the boat seemed pretty full with gear for the 6 of us. The last time we dove in LA (on the Palawan), we were on the slowest boat known to man. This boat was much more reasonable, and we were out to the site in no time. The way that they planned to deploy us was to drop a shot line on the wreck and then anchor off of the wreck in the sand, letting the boat drift back to near the shot line (hopefully). Once the boat was anchored, we clipped our bottles to lines on the sides of the boat and tossed them in. Then we got into our gear, which was kind of annoying because the gear was on the deck on the way out and we had to hoist it up onto the benches to get geared up. Then we rolled into the water and put our bottles on in there. Then we swam over to downline. There was a bit of current on the surface. We didn't have scooters for this dive, because the site was supposed to be really small.

Photo by Robert Lee
We headed down to the line, and at the bottom, we found a whole lot of sand. And a lead weight bouncing along the bottom. Hmph. This is seeming very familiar. Rob suggested we swim a little to see if there was any sign of anything, but after about 10 feet, I guess he realized that was futile. So we returned to the line and headed up it. On the way up, Rob put up a bag, hoping this would signal to the other team not to bother coming down the line. We got to the surface and found the other team waiting (not sure if they saw the bag and decided to wait, or just happened to not have started down yet). We told the captain that we were in sand and he said we could stay in the water and he would go drop the ball again. Just as we were pondering the long swim up-current that this would involve, he told us he would tow us over to the ball once it was reset. I've never done that before, and always imagined it being not very comfortable on the shoulders. Indeed it is not, even though we were moving pretty slowly. Just as I was about to let go because I couldn't stand it anymore, I peeked above the water and saw that we were just about to the ball. As soon as the boat stopped, I made a bee-line for the line and our team was headed back down pretty quickly.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
This time we actually found something at the bottom of the line. The wreck is reminiscent of a rubble pile more than a wreck :) It is small, and broken into two big pieces. Between the two big pieces there is low-lying rubble strewn about. While the structure is nothing to write home about, there were zillions of fish on it. And it is pretty nicely covered in Corynactis and gorgonians. I couldn't believe how dense it was with fishies! As soon as we got down, the first thing I saw (other than the scads of fishies in the water) was a lingcod guarding some eggs. Neat. After looking at the half of the wreck that we dropped on, I poked around the rubble pile briefly and found a huge lingcod under there, and also a starry rockfish. Clinton apparently saw a bunch of starries, but I saw only that one. There were also a zillion juvenile half-bandeds. Near the end of the dive, we meandered over to the mast, and I noticed a line wrapped around it with a bolt-snap on the end. Ooh la la -- loot! I salvaged the bolt-snap, with Rob's assistance. I told him afterward that if I find that bolt snap with yellow tape on it, he is in big trouble. We ended up leaving the bottom a bit before scheduled (not really sure why, but we had kind of seen what there was to see). There was a little bit of current on the way up, but it seemed to get better as we got closer to the surface, so for most of the deco it was fine.

Photo by Robert Lee
For the next dive, we headed to the Palawan, which is really close. But by the time we got into the water, it had gotten kind of windy. It was a little snotty when I rolled into the water. We headed down and thankfully found the wreck. We had originally planned to dive bottom stages on dive 1 but not on dive 2. But with the extra "dive" down to the sand on the first dive, we decided to bring a stage on dive 2 (to share :P). Luckily we had brought an extra stage on the boat "just in case". I think planning to pass a stage bottle halfway through the dive is a bit strokey, but Rob assures me it isn't. The viz was not too good -- it was very chunky, especially bad in some spots near the bottom. We did one zoom around the outside, and then ended up spending most of the rest of the dive on top. There was quite a bit of current, but if you were on the deck, there was some protection from the structure. It was amazing how much current there was outside of the protection and then if you dropped down like 2 feet, it was basically totally protected. The wreck is totally colorful with Corynactis, and also has a lot of those spindly red gorgonians. But there were also the more lush golden gorgonians and some of those purple sea-fan-like things (not sure what the technical term is), and a few orange ones too. Last time we were on the Palawan, there were zillions of Cuthona divae and their eggs all over it. This time I saw a bunch, but not as many as last time. There were also plenty of fish on the wreck, though it didn't seem as fishy as the Retriever was. But maybe it was just the small wreck versus big wreck thing affecting my perception of the fishiness. I am pleased to report that I passed my half-empty stage to Rob without incident. But of course as soon as I started to stow the reg, I realize Clinton wants to take a pictures; so he got a picture of me with a reg in my hands.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
The deco was uneventful, though there was a bit of current. We would just scoot back into place a couple times a minute to stay with the line. The water got warmer on the way up, so it was toasty warm by 20 feet. The water also was much clearer at 20 feet, which struck me as pretty odd. The original plan was to do a third dive on the Star of Scotland, but the wind had really picked up, and with the current at the Palawan, we didn't think it was worth the bumpy ride to try it. So then we were talking about the Avalon, or a drift dive on some reef nearby. In the end, we rode over to the Avalon, and the divemaster was going to do a quick dive to see what the current was like. When the shot line immediately went for a ride after it was dropped, it was pretty apparent that there was a lot of current. And no one was feeling that attached to a third dive, so we just called instead. So we got back to the dock a bit early, but of course the LA traffic conspired to keep us from actually having any day left by the time we got back to Adrienne's house.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Since I am a bit behind in my writing, I guess I can't post this without mentioning the next week's drama about this trip. Apparently we made some horrific tipping faux pas with the DM (I swear, we gave the guy a hundred bucks!), and so we all got called assholes by some guy on The Deco Stop. I believe the exact phrase was "asshole tech divers". I gather the original poster is a bit of an asshole himself, and doesn't get along with Nick. Well, I was telling Matt, if I had a nickel for every time I was called an asshole on the internet... and Matt said I could probably buy a new drysuit ;)

All of the day's pictures are here.